Granada content to delay hotel sales

Gerry Robinson, chairman of Granada, the media and leisure group, yesterday gave his strongest hint yet that he was in no hurry to complete the sale of the luxury Exclusive hotel chain, despite setting a self-imposed deadline for the disposals of "early 1997".

Speaking after the company's annual general meeting Mr Robinson suggested this week's $10.5bn (pounds 6.5bn) bid in the US by Hilton Hotels for ITT, owner of the Sheraton, would strengthen his hand in negotiations: "It is a serious indication of the underlying value of hotel assets."

Mr Robinson said it was wrong to say that Granada had set a deadline of the end of this month to complete the sale of the 17 Exclusive hotels, though he hoped the disposals would be finalised by the end of March.

Shares in Granada closed 11p lower at 873p amid disappointment about the lack of progress on the sales. Speculation has grown in recent weeks that Granada was finding it difficult to find buyers for some of the "trophy" hotels, which were acquired as part of the last year's pounds 3.8bn takeover of Forte. So far only three properties in London, Paris and Barbados have been sold. But Mr Robinson insisted he was happy with the level of interest from potential buyers of the hotels. "My bet would be that over the next three or four weeks we will see a number of announcements," he told reporters.

Mr Robinson said there was buying interest in London's Grosvenor House, the largest of the Exclusive hotels, valued at between pounds 300m to pounds 400m. Granada would pay around pounds 20m to pounds 25m for a complete upgrading of Grosvenor House, including repairing the roof, he said.

Granada plans to begin to work on selling its 68 per cent stake in the Savoy hotel group only when it has sold the Exclusive hotels.

Earlier, shareholders waved through plans to introduce a long-term incentive scheme that could double a senior director's annual salary if certain criteria were met. Mr Robinson defended the scheme, saying Granada alone among Britain's top 100 quoted companies paid no bonuses to directors.

Mr Robinson also revealed that Granada, owner of regional television licences in the North-west of England and London, would be interested in taking a stake in Channel 4 if it was privatised. But he ruled out plans for Granada to sell its 10.8 per cent stake in BSkyB.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Sport
footballBrighton vs Arsenal match report
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
people
News
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
people
News
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Tax Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - OTE £25,000

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Developer - Watford - £45,000 - £47,000

£45000 - £47000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / ...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Product Manager - (Financial Services) - SW London

£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us